William is sitting in a classroom. His desk is next to the window. On the desk is an exam paper. It is upside down. The back of the paper has nothing on it. In about 15 minutes, the woman in charge of the exam will say, “Please turn over the exam book. You can begin the exam now.”
William is very tired. He studied all night. This exam is very important. If he can pass the exam he will be able to get a better job.
I hope I can pass this exam, he thinks. The boss said he would promote me to assistant manager, but only if I pass this course. But I am so sleepy.
The sun is coming in through the window. It is very hot. William’s eyes close. His head goes forward onto the desk. William is asleep.
He wakes up suddenly. A bell is ringing. He shakes his head and sits up. What!
The woman in charge of the exam is speaking.
“Time is up. Please put down your pens and pencils. Do not touch the exam papers. We will collect them now.”
Seconds later, one of the woman’s assistants picks up the exam paper from in front of William.
“Stop! Stop!” William is shouting. The assistant looks at him but doesn’t say anything. She moves away and picks up the next exam paper.
Oh, no! I slept all the time. I studied so hard but I didn’t take the exam. My boss will see my score is zero. I will never get a better job. I might lose the job I have now!
William puts his head in his hands. The other students on the course are standing up. They are packing their bags and walking out. William doesn’t move. Finally, he looks up. He is the only student left. The woman and her assistants are putting the exam papers into boxes.
Then, an alarm rings and an announcement comes over the loudspeaker system. “Emergency! Emergency! There is a fire! Leave now. Everybody, leave the building now!”
The woman and her assistants run to the door. William follows them. They hurry down the stairs and out onto the street. The fire is very small. It is on the other side of the building. The fire department arrives soon, and puts the fire out. The danger is over. Everything is fine.
William doesn’t have his bag. He left it in the classroom. He has to wait until he is allowed to go back inside. He is standing next to the woman in charge of the exam. “What happens now?” he asks. “Are you waiting to go back and get the exam papers?”
“Yes,” she says. “But there is no hurry.”
“Why not?” asks William.
“Well, we left the exam papers in the room. That is against the rules. I’m very sorry but all the students will have to take another exam. Maybe next week.”
She smiles at him. “I saw you sleeping. Maybe next time you will stay awake!”